Roy Smith – Memorable Trip to Dominican
On Wednesday, I was part of a delegation of Dodger officials, lead by Frank and Jamie McCourt, who flew to the Dominican Republic to tour our baseball academy Campo Las Palmas, which is located in the town of Guerra. The purpose of the trip was to affirm our commitment to maintaining our presence in the Dominican, commemorate Campo Las Palmas’ 20th year as our baseball academy and announce that Ralph Avila, who had worked as a consultant to baseball operations the last four years, would be taking on a greater role this year by overseeing our Latin American scouting efforts.
Campo Las Palmas was founded in 1987 and is truly unique in that not only is it beautiful with its trees and flowers, it also has 15 acres of farm and agricultural land to grow food for the academy. It also maintains livestock. It was Ralph Avila who in his then role as Vice President/Latin American Operations who designed and built the academy. Campo Las Palmas has been rated as the No. 1 facility in the Dominican annually since then. Eliadoro Arias, who currently runs the camp, took us on a tour of the grounds along with Ralph, filling us in on the history and some of the unique features. We then moved to the cafeteria where Eliodoro, Ralph, Frank and Ned Colletti addressed a large contingent of sports writers and television crews. Mr. McCourt also announced a $20,000 donation to Futoro Vivo, which is a school for underprivileged children which lies adjacent to our complex and which the Dodgers have traditionally helped support.
After the press conference, we took a tour of the school which was truly impressive. I was very proud of our organization for the contribution we made to the school. Guerra is a very poor town and without Futoro Vivo many of these children, who are the poorest of the poor, would have nothing.
All in all it was a very memorable day and one which I was especially proud to be a Dodger.